JUNEAU, Alaska (AP) — A worker on Alaska’s North Slope tested positive for COVID-19, BP announced Tuesday.
The state has reported 133 total cases of COVID-19, the disease caused by the new coronavirus, including 14 new cases announced Tuesday. Dr. Anne Zink, the state’s chief medical officer, said cases are reported according to where someone lives.
Zink initially said the North Slope case was not reflected in Alaska’s numbers, adding it was her understanding the worker lives out of state. But state health Commissioner Adam Crum in a statement late Tuesday said the worker is an Alaska resident who previously traveled out of state. Clinton Bennett, a state health department spokesman, said the North Slope worker is counted in the 133 total cases.
BP confirmed a worker at Prudhoe Bay had tested positive, company spokeswoman Megan Baldino said by email. In a statement, she said the company is following procedures to minimize the risk of COVID-19 and eliminating nonessential activity on the North Slope.
Crum, in his statement, said the person traveled to the North Slope last week and displayed symptoms within two days of arriving. “He was tested and put in quarantine,” as were close contacts, who were immediately notified, Crum said.
For most people, the new coronavirus causes mild or moderate symptoms, such as fever and cough that clear up in two to three weeks. For some, especially older adults and people with existing health problems, it can cause more severe illness, including pneumonia and death.
Meanwhile, Anne Weske, director of the state division that determines eligibility for Alaska Permanent Fund dividends, said applications submitted before midnight on April 30 will be considered timely for the 2020 filing season. The additional time is linked to legislation recently passed by lawmakers, she confirmed by email.
The filing deadline had been Tuesday. But a bill passed by the Legislature, extending Gov. Mike Dunleavy’s public health disaster emergency declaration over the coronavirus to Nov. 15, included a provision extending the application period for this year’s dividend to April 30.
The bill is a rewrite of a measure initially proposed by the governor’s office and awaits Dunleavy’s review.